Advent Day 16: New Hearts, New Hope

Key Scripture: Ezekiel 36:26-28; Jeremiah 31:31-33

Like Isaiah, other prophets warned God’s people that he would punish their idolatry through terrible attacks from foreign nations if they did not repent. Everything God warned about through the prophets happened. The nations of Assyria and Babylon invaded the land with brutal attacks. Many of God’s people were carried away into exile to be slaves in these foreign lands.

Things seemed rather hopeless. The temple where God once lived among his people was burned down. The city of Jerusalem was in ruins. No king from David’s family was ruling on the throne. Many of God’s people were far from home–separated from each other and their land. Years ago, God had given his people the law, written on tablets of stone. They had promised to obey it but failed miserably. God’s people rejected his Word and worshipped idols. God gave them many chances to return to him and obey, but they couldn’t do it. They didn’t want God. The prophet Jeremiah said their hearts were sick with sin.

But God is faithful to keep his promises even when his people fail. Through the prophets, God promised to bring a group of his people out of slavery and back to their land. Then, God made a new promise to Israel and Judah. He promised to take care of their sin problem by giving them brand new hearts!

God was going to take out their sin-sick hearts and replace them with new, clean hearts. The law that had been written on tablets of stone would now be written on new hearts. God was also going to send his Spirit to live inside his people. With new hearts and God’s Spirit inside them, the people would finally want to obey God! They would finally have the power needed to keep his commandments.

And there’s more! God promised to forgive the sins of his children once and for all. How could a holy God, who must punish evil, forgive all those sins forever and ever? He could do it through the death of a perfect Lamb–a human Lamb whose blood would pay the full price for sin.

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Main Point: God promised to give his children clean, new hearts, so they could obey his Word and bring him glory. He promised to forgive their sins, so they could live with him forever.

Christ Connection: Jesus Christ died once to pay the full price for human sin. Because his blood was shed, God forgives his children and gives them new hearts (Hebrews 10:11-18; Matthew 26:27-28).

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